Dallas Cowboys Offseason Message: Start Over


Coming off his first winning season and playoff appearance as Dallas Cowboys head coach, Jason Garrett isn’t expecting any carry over. While a 12-4 season has provided plenty of optimism, along with a great draft haul this past May–the message has remained to rebuild from the ground up. Like many of Garrett’s other ideas, the trickle down of belief from the team’s leaders has been conveyed to the media.

The message was relayed by long-time captain and tight end Jason Witten. He told Dallascowboys.com that there is no such thing as carry over.

"“But you don’t build, you start over. You go do it again. When it’s 8-8, you start over. When you’re 12-4, you have to go back and start over again. I think the teams that have done a really good job with Coach Garrett’s message and our guys with the way we work that we’re going to go prove it and get better.”"

Fellow offensive captain and quarterback Tony Romo reiterated the same idea when asked if there is such a thing as carrying momentum over from previous seasons?

"“You gotta start over, you don’t build off of anything.”"

Why are the Cowboys so desperately stressing that last year’s team success has nothing to do with this year’s? Surely a phenomenal season by Romo and his offense should be able to repeat success, right?

It’s important to look back to the previous two times this team made the playoffs in 2007 and 2009. In 2008, Dallas was among the favorites to come out of the NFC after a 13-3 record. A poor December showing in the 2008 season cost the Cowboys a chance to validate such claims. They finished third  in the NFC East after a 44-6 thrashing in Philadelphia in the season finale that sent the winner to the playoffs.

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A strong bounce back occurred in 2009 as the team went 11-5 before falling in the divisional round of the playoffs. However, everything seemed to be in place once again for another championship run. This time, even more was at stake, as the Super Bowl was to be hosted in Dallas. A 1-5 start and subsequent Romo injury nipped those hopes before October of that season was over.

Who was the offensive coordinator for both those seasons? Jason Garrett, who took over in the middle of the 2010 season after then head coach Wade Phillips was fired. Now, as the man in charge, Garrett does not want history to repeat itself once again.

The signing of defensive end Greg Hardy, and accumulation of what some have claimed as three first-round talents in corner Byron Jones, defensive end Randy Gregory, and offensive lineman La’el Collins has many feeling the Cowboys are primed for that Super Bowl push.

While that certainly seems attainable, it won’t happen because the team went 12-4 last season. Rather, the team should be confident in its abilities, knowing that they have all the prerequisites to once again be among the league’s best.

However, the most important part won’t be just picking up off of last year’s success. It will be the commitment, belief, and process to taking it a day at a time, while getting better at the same time. The message has started at the top with the coach, and has trickled down to the team’s leaders. Now is no time to carry over success. It’s time to start over.

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